Upperclassman RoHo numbers remain low

Though upperclassman dorms housing prospective freshmen (ProFros) over Admit Weekend have scheduled dorm-specific activities aimed at creating a more welcoming atmosphere, the number of room hosts (RoHos) in participating non-freshman dorms remains low.

The Admit Weekend experience is generally different for ProFros assigned to stay in an upperclassman dorm instead of a freshman or four-class dorm. Head house hosts (HoHos) for upperclassmen face challenges in generating a sense of community and excitement for ProFros due to the large sizes of non-freshman dorm such as Crothers, Toyon and Kimball, as well as less involvement from upperclassman dorm residents, according to Alejandro Ruizesparza ’16, one of three HoHos in Crothers.

“Being in an upperclassman dorm like Crothers that’s so big – it already lacks a community – I think that can be hard on ProFros,” said Maggie Cremin ’16, another Crothers HoHo. “The lack of an existing community makes it harder for ProFros to talk to students and other ProFros if doors are closed and the dorm is quieter.”

Ellen Hong ’17, who stayed in the upperclassman dorm Kimball during last year’s Admit Weekend, said she doesn’t remember Kimball offering any dorm programming the entire weekend – the only dorm-specific activity she participated in was an event held at Stern – and also recalled that most of the upperclassmen kept to themselves. Looking back at her Admit Weekend experience, she said she wishes she had stayed in a freshman dorm.

“Admit Weekend made me scared about going to Stanford,” Hong said. “I was set on going to Stanford, but if I was choosing between Stanford and another school, staying at an upperclassman dorm would have definitely pushed me towards going to a different school.”

Ramona Malczynski ’14, who served as a Crothers HoHo for Admit Weekend two years ago, said that while the overall experience had been positive for ProFros staying at Crothers, she found it difficult to organize events in a large dorm, a challenge that was worsened by the fact that there were only two HoHos between Crothers and Crothers Memorial.

Malczynski contrasted her HoHo experience in Crothers unfavorably with her RoHo experience in the four-class dorm Cardenal, where specific activities were held to promote interactions among ProFros and between ProFros and RoHos.

In an effort to address the lack of activities in upperclassman dorms, the Crothers HoHos this year have organized Crothers-specific sleepovers in the main lounge and a GeoCache scavenger hunt in which Crothers ProFros are tasked to find hidden items around campus.

Ruizesparza and Cremin admitted, however, that convincing unenthused upperclassman residents to serve as RoHos – the limiting factor in determining how many ProFros a dorm like Crothers can house – has been a difficult process.

“A lot of [upperclassmen] are just doing their own things,” Ruizesparza said. “They have their own groups of friends and hang out. They’re just in a different place, and it’s hard to get them all together [for Admit Weekend].”

This weekend, eight registered ProFros are housed in Toyon and about 30 are housed in Crothers, compared to the 50 to 60 ProFros who stay at each of the freshman and four-class dorms on East Campus, according to a freshman dorm RA.

Cremin also expressed concerns about upperclassman dorms staying alcohol-free during Admit Weekend, explaining that it is easier for a HoHo to encourage residents in a freshman dorm – where there is a more tight-knit community – to follow Admit Weekend’s dry policy than it is in an upperclassman dorm.

Ruizesparza noted that there are some benefits for ProFros assigned to non-freshman dorms, as they can draw valuable information such as advice on upper-level courses and career pathways from upperclassmen.

Malczynski, who is a RoHo in Cardenal again this year, said she believes that she is in a much better position to be giving advice to ProFros as a senior now than when she was a freshman. ProFros staying at an upperclassman dorm could also get a better sense of what everyday life, outside of the excitement of freshman year, is like at Stanford, according to Malczynski.

Despite those benefits, however, creating an atmosphere in an upperclassman dorm that is as exciting as that in a freshman dorm remains difficult.

“It would be better if Stanford tried to get everyone into a freshman dorm,” Hong said. “[Freshmen] are more excited about hosting ProFros than upperclassmen who just kind of have to take ProFros.”

Contact George Chen at gchen15 “at” stanford.edu.

About George Chen

George Chen is the President and Editor in Chief of The Stanford Daily. Previously he worked at The Daily as the Executive Editor, Managing Editor of Sports, the football beat reporter and a sports desk editor. George also co-authored The Daily's recent book documenting the rise of Stanford football, "Rags to Roses." He is a junior from Painted Post, NY majoring in Biology. To contact him, please email eic@stanforddaily.com.